The religious right strategically uses religion and religious language, combined with patriotic symbols, to push a political agenda that has little connection to the values of mainstream people of faith. It is, in short, a political rather than religious movement. The Texas Freedom Network has monitored the religious right in Texas since 1995.

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We told you earlier this week how Gov. Rick Perry has employed a disturbing mix of faith and militancy in a note to conservative evangelical pastors. Gov. Perry wrote the note in an invitation for pastors to attend a Texas Restoration Project event in Austin next month. The governor isn’t the only person linked to the Texas Restoration Project who dips into the rhetorical well of militant Christianity. Another prominent speaker at the far-right group’s events has been the Rev. Rod Parsley of Ohio, who has said the mission of a Christian United States is to destroy Islam. Republican presidential candidate John McCain welcomed Parsley’s support earlier this year, calling him a “spiritual guide.” But Parsley’s rhetoric has been so incendiary that McCain was finally forced to distance himself from the Ohio pastor. For a taste of that red-hot rhetoric, see the video clip below. (McCain’s repudiation of Parsley came later.) [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCy2yMarPqI&hl=en&fs=1] You can read more about Parsley here and here and about his connection with the Texas Restoration Project in a Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report here. Gov. Perry, who claimed in his invitation to pastors that…… Read More

Oh, Kansas. Why must you share our suffering so?

As Texans with our own dysfunctional and often wacky State Board of Education, it’s easy for us to sympathize with Kansans, who are facing elections to their own tenuously sane state board this year.

Unfortunately, Kansans won’t have many of the moderates currently leading the board to re-elect, as they are stepping down — and far-right politicians and interest groups are ravenous to regain control by picking up the moderates’ seats.

Out of the five seats up for election this year (the board is composed of ten members total), two races have candidates who are explicitly far to the right of the mainstream: Republicans Dennis Hedke, Alan Detrich and Robert Meissner (who’s a dentist; what’s with dentists on state boards of education?). Hedke is involved with the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s tour touting “global warming alarmism.” Meissner is . . . well, let’s just let him speak for himself:

“As stated in the past, if the science community can come to a consensus as to the scientific credibility of alternative theories as to origin, then I would… Read More

The rest of the nation seems to be having second thoughts about the religious right’s radical agenda, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the Texas Republican Party platform adopted earlier this month. Religious extremists who control the party are doubling down, pushing a platform that’s as radical as any in the past. The Texas Freedom Network has analyzed the party platform here.

Here’s a taste of what Texas would look like under the GOP platform:… Read More

Oh, this should be fun. The Texas Republican Party Convention is this weekend in Houston, and already social conservatives are pushing the party to take official positions that are sure to alienate mainstream folks. One delegate argued that the party platform should include a plank calling for the removal of naked people in paintings and sculptures in the National Gallery of Art and other public places in the nation’s capital. “You don’t have nude art on your front porch,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “You possibly don’t have nude art in your living rooms. So why is it important to have that in the common places of Washington, D.C.?” In an unusual example of moderation, the party platform committee voted against that plank.

Another delegate has argued against a plank calling affirmative action “simply racism disguised as social value.” That kind of language, he said, would alienate African Americans and keep them from joining the GOP. (Gee. You think?) The platform commitee disagreed, keeping the language in the platform for now.

The platform, which the state party is set to adopt today, is likely to include support for teaching… Read More

The Free Market Foundation, the Plano-based Texas affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, has a new pitch for donations — and don’t expect much in the way of truth.

Near the top of the list of whoppers in Free Market’s letter is a claim of victory in a lawsuit over a Bible class offered by the Ector County (Odessa) Independent School District in West Texas. “The district will permanently have a Bible course, with the Bible as the textbook, and may use additional outside resources as well,” Free Market crows in its letter. “Our victory was a huge setback for the ACLU’s national plans.”

Well, no. The American Civil Liberties Union sought to forbid the school district from using an error-riddled, blatantly sectarian Bible curriculum that promotes the religious views of Protestant Christian fundamentalists over everybody else’s. The ACLU succeeded. During mediation, school officials agreed to drop the curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools and develop an alternative set of class materials. So long as the district uses a curriculum that neither promotes nor attacks anyone’s religion, the district may continue to offer the course. (The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report about the National Council’s dreadfulRead More

Amanda Bennett

I got to tell current & former Janes that today, Stephanie Toti filed a lawsuit that challenges the law that shamed, delayed, & traumatized them. Listen to their responses in this thread 👇😭❤️😍 #JusticeforJane #PeoplesLawsuit twitter.com/janesdue…

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